How to Hook Parents at the High School Level
By Zach Wigle, Keokuk High School Principal
Engage the student and their parents will follow!
Finding ways to connect parents is always a difficult task regardless of the level, or school demographics. It can become harder when you work in high poverty areas with disconnected families. In Keokuk, we have been able to identify some strategies that allow parents to feel more welcome and connected within the walls of our schools. I don't have all of the answers, but what our high school staff has been able to do over the
last three years has been a catalyst in our school improvement efforts. At Keokuk High School, we believe that K-Pride has made a huge impact in regards to parent engagement and involvement and it starts with the students.
K-Pride is a mindset that highlights the importance of building relationships with our students. When students feel more connected, parents will feel the same way. There is no real program or set of guidelines that we have followed, but our staff has bought into
this mindset of "relationships first" and the results are impressive. If I could highlight three things that have aided our efforts they would be Communication, Positive Contacts, and Special Events. Below you will see a list of things we have done that fall under each of these categories.
|K-Pride Facebook page
||Home visits in the summer
||K-Pride Block Party
||Weekly calls/notes home from staff members
||Stepping Towards Success banquet
|Youth Leadership Team
||Celebrating small wins
||School Community Council Meetings
|Thank Yous/Raise the Praise
||Lunch and Learn with parents
As Marzano states, "Schools that are highly effective produce results that almost entirely overcome the effects of student or family background." I can't thank our staff enough for all of the hard work they have put in over the last few years. Our graduation rate is the highest it has been in a long time at 91%. We only had nine students drop out of high school last year (less than 1.5%) compared to over 6% the previous five years. Student achievement is also climbing, and this spring we will be anxious to see the results of all of this hard work. I have included a link that will give you access to many of the documents and resources that may give you some ideas. If you have any questions, or ever need anything, please contact me.
High School Principal at Keokuk High School
319-795-6493 Twitter: @wiglezac